Course 4:  ~Black Holes and the Big Bang~

         WEEK 1: Welcome and Overview - Learn about the uncertainty principle and it's amazing implication. Does matter really            appear spontaneously out of "empty space"? Einstein's visionary theory demonstrates that gravity makes time run slower and warps            space itself. Is time travel possible?

         WEEK 2: In the Beginning - The Big Bang. - We will discuss Einstein's equation of the universe. He added a "fudge factor"                  which he later called the greatest mistake of his life. Edwin Hubble discovered the expansion of the universe, and became the toast of            Hollywood during the 1930s. Learn about the primordial fireball from 13.7 billion years ago that still glows today, compelling evidence            for the Big Bang.

         WEEK 3: The Big Bang (Continued). - Trace the evolution of the universe from the Big Bang (time zero) to the present day.            Does the latest theory, called Inflation, tell us how all matter itself was created? We will discuss dark matter and dark energy, and            what they do tell us about the fate of our universe.

         WEEK 4: Black Holes - What Are They? - Do stars collapse to a point of infinite density? What do we mean by infinitely curved            spacetime? Learn the history of stars, and how super-dense neutron stars and spectacular supernovas are formed. Are black holes            wormholes to another universe?

         WEEK 5: Black Holes - Do They Really Exist? - What happens if you fall into a black hole? Does a black hole stop time?                         Can we use it for time travel? Take a virtual trip to a black hole at the center of our galaxy. We will discuss current evidence for black            holes. Are they at the center of every galaxy in our universe?

         WEEK 6: Quantum Gravity - We will discuss the latest attempts to develop a "theory of everything", and their strange            implications. What is string theory? What is Loop Quantum Gravity? Do we live in an universe of 11 dimensions? Will these theories            lead us to a new understanding of the cosmos and tell us what happened before the Big Bang?

           Textbook: Brian Greene, The Fabric of the Cosmos, Vintage Books                            ISBN #0-375-72720-5 (pbk.)    Price about $15